Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: El Dorado Bowl, Birthday Pass, Lost Couloir

Route & General Observations

12/23/17 – skinned up alternate approach, ridge on looker’s right of El Dorado Bowl. Melt/freeze crust exposed on some areas of the approach ridge. Traversed back the ridge, descended E/SE aspect which had variable but surprisingly minimal wind effect. Snow pack depth appx 30cm near top of the bowl. *More south facing aspects or aspects with cross-loading had small releases.

12/24/17 – Skinned back to Friendship pass. Noteable wind effect in unprotected areas with pillows and with some soft-slab formation. Skiied two couloirs E/NE aspects, south of the pass. Both were relatively well protected from recent wind events. Extremely variable soft slab formation with harder wind slab present near the top of the more southerly couloir. Stopped about 200 ft short of the top d/t hard slab forming on top of soft slab.

Red Flags
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Observer Comments

No obvious signs of instability. Some soft slab breaking lower down at skin track switch backs.

Weather & Snow Characteristics
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Snow surface

All about spatial variability. Pockets of soft/hard slabs, more persistent in higher elevations.


Soft slab varied from about 5cm - 30cm. Hard slab was thin, 10cm or less. Unconsolidated snow underneath.